A Broadway Production in Our Own Beit Ha'am!

Written by Andi Meiseles, former Tel Yehudah Director 

I was lucky enough to do lots of different jobs at camp and I have so many amazing memories of my time at TY.  What stands out for me are the people - the incredibly talented, inspiring, dedicated, smart and creative people I had the chance to work with, both staff and kids.  But if forced to choose just one memory, I think my favorite would be when I was the Merakezet Ulpan (unit head for a chug whose theme was learning Hebrew) and our incredible tsevet (staff) wrote and produced a Friday night oneg (fun performance) that was a Hebrew version of "A Chorus Line."

(L) Andi as Director in the 80s; (R) Andi on a visit to TY in 2015 (L) Andi as Director in the 80s; (R) Andi on a visit to TY in 2015

This was a big hit on Broadway, at the time, about dancers auditioning for a show.  In typical TY fashion, we did not just translate popular shows into Hebrew; we rewrote the shows and the lyrics to make them ABOUT Hebrew, capturing the fun and the nuances of Hebrew. This was the tradition of the Ulpan that I inherited from the great Mel Reisfield.

In this version the Hebrew letters were auditioning to be a part of the Aleph-Bet. Each letter had a specific personality and the show had a big finale with the Hebrew letters singing and dancing in top hats and canes (in an actual chorus line, of course) and confetti released from the ceiling.  This was all in Hebrew and on a Friday night, so there were no instruments or electronics or special lighting.  The whole Beit Ha'am was electrified, though; you didn't need to know Hebrew to understand the humor.  Everyone was caught up in the energy and the message came through loud and clear to even the youngest chanichim (campers):  Hebrew is "cool!"

I love this memory because it captures in a microcosm all of the educational creativity, energy and collaboration that I've always loved about camp.

I tip my top hat to the current TY team for making sure that a new generation of chanichim will have great memories as well!

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